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Disability and employment: "Feeling useful, like others"

November 10, 2022
Portrait of Jonathan
Jonathan works in Sully's internal IT department

He tells us his story, and testifies that working with a disability is possible.

Jonathan, what are your missions at Sully?

I work in internal IT. We manage infrastructure, security, workstations, IS and project environments, user requests...

How are your days going?

I take care of the requests which arrive in the form of tickets, according to their degree of priority. I am lucky enough to be able to work completely remotely, in my beautiful region of Cantal. Today, technology has evolved and allows it. That's why I chose this job early on, because I quickly understood that it would allow me to compensate for my handicap.

You do work with a disability...

Yes, I have a severe disability, a brain injury due to a premature birth. My 4 limbs are affected. This results in muscle and coordination problems. I have a disability rate of over 80%. Obviously, this has a huge impact on my daily life. But I live it very well, I work like everyone else, and it is thanks to this work that I blossom.

What is your background?

My journey is a bit tortuous, I had to fight to get where I am. But it allowed me to learn a lot of things. 

I started with an electrical engineering baccalaureate and a BTS in network computing, in Aurillac, where I live. I followed this with a professional license in alternation, then a university license in the region of Clermont, to consolidate my fundamental knowledge.

I then took an important turn: I had always wanted to teach, so I took a master's degree in teaching, with a modification to do it in 3 years instead of 2. Then I taught 2 years in primary school. I loved this experience.

Didn't you continue teaching?

My disability allowed me to join the National Education system without taking a competitive exam, but as a result, I did not have a permanent position and I lost my job. Then COVID happened, and it was difficult for me to find a job. I was unemployed for almost 2 years.

Then one day, a friend of my parents who works at Sully told me that the group's internal IT department was looking for skills. I sent my CV without really believing it.

Why didn't you believe it?

I've had a lot of unsuccessful interviews, and I know that my disability is very blocking. Usually when the recruiter sees me physically, he/she has a pause. Disability is not yet easily accepted, especially when it is very important.

But this time it happened differently: Sully contacted me again and offered me to work entirely from home.

Is telecommuting important to you?

It allowed me to overcome many of the difficulties that arose when I was not working at home. In the company, I couldn't manage transportation, meals, going to the bathroom... 

All these issues don't arise when I telework, it makes my life much easier.

Is your working time also arranged?

Yes, I work part-time. I wanted to start off smoothly, so that I could do what I was asked to do well. My experience in the French education system has shown me that it is difficult to perform well on a full-time basis in my situation. When I am well established in my job, with my skills consolidated, it is possible that my working hours will evolve.

Doesn't the distance weigh too much?

I am very lucky with the in-house IT team. I work with colleagues I haven't seen yet, but they are very present. I can rely on nice colleagues. 

I wasn't sure how it would go, I'm pleasantly surprised. As soon as I stumble on something, there is always a colleague to the rescue who brings his experience. I'm always helping each other out, I'm in contact with all my colleagues every day.

But of course I would also like to meet my colleagues, to get to know them as people [Editor's note: Jonathan has since come to the headquarters to meet his team].

What are your goals?

My first goal is to gain experience, because I have a lot of new things to learn. I would like to specialize in computer security, a field I am passionate about.

A word to finish?

Despite all the difficulties, handicap or other, you have to go to the end of what you want to do. I had to be determined to succeed, many people did not believe in it. But today, I am proud and happy.

What I wanted was to feel useful, just like the others. And now, as soon as a user is blocked, he calls us for help, we are the digital supermen!